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Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE)

Alert! Non-Automatic Extension Request for Form W-2

Effective last summer Treasury Directive 9730 removed the automatic extension of time to file information returns on forms in the W-2 series (except Form W-2G) by the Jan. 31 due date. The directive replaces the 30-day automatic extension with a single, non-automatic, written extension request. The additional 30-day extension is no longer available.

Requests for an extension of time to file Form W-2 must be submitted on paper Form 8809 and postmarked by Jan. 31, 2017. Requests must include an explanation for the request. Approvals are not automatic: Requests will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Correspondence will be issued if the Form 8809 is incomplete or denied. IRS will not issue approval notifications.

Alert! IRS Extends Due Date for Employers and Providers to issue Health Coverage Forms to Individuals

On November 18, 2016, the IRS issued Notice 2016-70 which extended the 2017 due date for providing 2016 health coverage information forms to individuals. Insurers, self-insuring employers, other coverage providers, and applicable large employers now have until March 2, 2017 to provide Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to individuals, which is a 30-day extension from the original due date of January 31, 2017.  

The IRS has not extended the due dates for employers and providers to file Form 1095-B or 1095-C for 2016 with the IRS in 2017. The due dates to file these returns with the IRS remain February 28, 2016, for paper returns and March 31, 2016 for electronic filers.  ACA filers can go to the "What’s Trending" page on the ACA Tax Provision page on www.irs.gov for additional information.

What is an information return?

An information return is a tax document used to report certain types of payments made by financial institutions and others who make payments as part of their trade or business as required by Internal Revenue Code Regulations. Forms 1042-S, 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8955-SSA, and W-2G may be filed electronically via the FIRE system. Forms 1094/1095 are filed through the Affordable Care Act Information Return (AIR) system.

Who can participate?

Anyone with a FIRE Transmitter Control Code (TCC) who is required to submit the information returns listed above (except Forms 1094/1095) can file electronically through FIRE. The law requires any corporation, partnership, employer, estate and/or trust, who is required to file 250 or more information returns for any calendar year, must file electronically. IRS encourages filers who have less than 250 information returns to file electronically as well.

What are the benefits of electronic filing?

By transmitting your Information Returns through the FIRE system, your files are processed faster with fewer errors. Listed below are a few benefits of electronic filing:

  • FIRE can accept multiple files for the same type of return.
  • Combined Federal/State Filing Program (CF/SF) is available for participating states.
  • Fill-in Forms are available for Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) and Form 8809, Extension of Time to File Information Returns.

How to transmit through FIRE

In order to file electronically, you must have software or a service provider that will create the file in the proper format. Additionally, a TCC is required to transmit information returns through the FIRE system. The most efficient way to submit an application to file information returns electronically is to submit the Fill-in Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE), from the FIRE home page. You may also go to Forms and Pubs and select the paper version of Form 4419. Be sure to submit your application at least 45 days prior to the due date of your information returns.

Your FIRE TCC will be deleted if you don’t file any of the above information returns (except Form 1094/1095) for two consecutive tax years. Once deleted from our database, you will need to submit another Form 4419.

ALERT! The new due date for Forms W-2,  W-3, and 1099-MISC with data in box 7 for non-employee compensation is January 31st.  The new due date is effective for tax year 2016, filed in 2017, and applies to paper and electronically filed returns.

ALERT! The Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) Production and Test System server no longer supports Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 3.0 as one of the FIRE System’s Internet Security Technical Standards. Transmitters using IE 6.0 or lower as their browser may have problems logging in and connecting to the FIRE System. Follow the steps below to connect and upload a file:

  • Go to Tools>Internet Options>Advanced
  • Scroll down and find Security
  • Uncheck both SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0
  • Check TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2 and select “Apply”

ALERT! Extension information effective tax year 2016

  • Requests for an Extension of Time for Form W-2 must be submitted on paper Form 8809.
  • Requests for an Additional Extension of Time must be submitted on paper Form 8809.
  • Extension of Time for Recipient Copies of Information Returns must be requested on paper.

ALERT!  Form 4419, Application for Filing Information Returns Electronically (FIRE) [Rev. 4-2016] is now available on https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs with the following updates:

  •  A note was placed in Box 7 and in the instructions stating:  "In order to file electronically through the FIRE System, you must have software or a service provider that will create the file in the standard ASCII format. A scanned or PDF document will not be accepted."

        Refer to Form 4419 Instructions for more information.

ALERT!  Approval letters will not be issued for Form 8809, Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns (30-Day) Requests. 

FIRE Test System - The IRS encourage filers to submit a test file to ensure their hardware and software are compatible with IRS systems.

  • Located at https://fire.test.irs.gov
  • Available from Nov. 1, 2016, through March 17, 2017, 5 p.m. (EST). The FIRE Test system will be down from 6p.m. (EST) December 9, 2016 through January 2, 2017.
  • System may be down every Wednesday from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. (EST) for programming updates.

       Note: Form 1042-S testing will be delayed and will begin on January 3, 2017 through March 17, 2017.

FIRE Production System - Available for electronic submissions

  • Located at https://fire.irs.gov
  • Available 24 hours a day
  • Available from January 17, 2017 through December 8, 2017.
  • The system may be down every Wednesday from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.(EST) for programming updates.

Available Assistance

Assistance is available to payers, transmitters, and employers at the telephone numbers below for the following issues:

  • Questions from the payer and transmitter community relating to the correct preparation and filing (electronic or paper) of business information returns (Forms 1096, 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, 8027, 8596,  and W-2G).
  • Questions related to electronic filling of Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding, and Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits.
  • General Instructions for Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, and W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements.
  • Notice CP2100, Please check your Backup Withholding List.
  • Notice 972CG, A Penalty is proposed for your Information Returns.

Contact the IRS Monday through Friday

  • 1-866-455-7438 Toll Free
  • 1-304-263-8700 International
  • 1-304-579-4827 Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD).

Assistance with individual taxpayer returns or account related issues cannot be provided on the numbers listed above.  Click on the Help & Resources tab on IRS.gov for help with many tax issues.

 

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 18-Jan-2017